Posts Tagged ‘upcycling’

Last Minute Gift Ideas from Upcycled Materials

diy gifts banner

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and if you still haven’t finished your shopping, you’re probably shaking in your Santa boots. Never fear, we’ve collected a few last minute DIY gift ideas, and you won’t even have to leave your house. Check out the step-by-step instructions for each below.

Coffee Cozy

Teacup Candle

Sock Monkey

Valet Tray

Music Mogul Will.I.Am Makes Upcycling Even Cooler


When you think of music mogul/songwriter/producer and leader of The Black Eyed Peas Will.I.Am, mega upcycler is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. But the fact is, the musician has been in the sustainability game for a while now. In 2013, he teamed up  with The Coca-Cola Company to create Ekocycle, an upcycle initiative to educate consumers about waste and recycling and to support a more sustainable environment by turning trash into cool and funky new treasures. The Ekocycle brand features a diverse line of products — from electronics accessories to clothing.



Beats by Dre headphones made from 31 percent of upcycled waste plastic and aluminum








Levi’s limited edition ‘501 waist-less jean’ contain an average of eight different recycled plastic bottles.






New Zealand-based designers H Brothers introduced a new line of fashion-forward men’s suits made out of rPET, a fabric made using recycled plastic bottles.






The Ekocycle 3D Printer uses recycled plastic cartridges from
repurposed Coke bottles.

Cute and Cozy Upcycled Pet Beds

Owning a pet can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be expensive. Cut some of the costs associated with pet ownership by upcycling old furniture and household items into cute and cozy pet beds.

Turn an old hard cover suitcase or briefcase into a cool and cozy pet bed. Learn how here.
Suitcase pet bed

Turn an end table into a comfy resting place for your pooch. Learn how here.
End table pet bed

Watch and learn how to turn a spare tire into a bed for your favorite feline.
Tire pet bed

Save that outdated television from the landfill. Turn it into a pet bed instead. Learn how here.
TV pet bed

An old dresser can be upcycled into a number of things, including an awesome pet bed. Learn how here.
Drawer pet bed

Ghoulishly Cool Upcycled Costumes

Halloween is a great time to test your upcycling powers. Why pay good money for a store bought costume that will probably be worn only once before ending up in a trash bin? Instead – with a little creativity – you can turn used stuff you have around the house (or that you pick up at Turnip Green Creative Reuse) into the coolest, candy-yielding costumes ever! Best part: these are projects you and your little ghouls can do together. Check out these examples.

Turns out my family was  upcycling in our house before we even knew what upcycling was. When my then 10-year-old decided she wasn’t too old to go trick or treating after all, we whipped up this last minute costume with paper plates, gift tissue paper and a trash bag.

skittles costume

A painted box and old vinyl records turn your little darling into the neighborhood DJ.

DJ costume

Keep those empty toilet paper rolls. Your Benjamin Franklin will need them for his wig.

They also make for a great Mac and Cheese costume when painted yellow.

ben franklin costume

Here’s a costume that mirrors real life: a laundry basket and old clothes

make a great costume for your dirt magnets.

laundry basket costume

Martha has the right idea with this T-shirt-turned-skeleton costume.

skeleton costume

Get Into the Groove With Upcycling


To celebrate the recent bounty of vinyl records we’ve received at the Turnip Green Creative Reuse store, we’ve gathered a few facts about vinyl. Stop by the store to check out our impressive vinyl collection and pick up a few other cool crafty items as well. Then be sure to check out the TGCR Pinterest board for tons of great vinyl project ideas.

• Vinyl records contain polyvinyl chloride, which is not biodegradable. More than 7 billion pounds of PVC are thrown away in the U.S. annually.

• Most album manufacturing companies actually shred and re-use the ones that do not sell. Discounts are offered to artists that return their unsold 45′s for shredding and re-pressing a new 45 with new songs.

• Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, performed by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski, was the first 12-inch recording released by RCA Victor in 1931.

• The groove in a vinyl record starts at the outer edge of the disc and ends towards the center of the disk. When a record is played, the sound can be different on the outer edge than the inner edge.

• Album sales have increased by 80 percent since 2008.

• Record sales were only around 0.3 million in 1993, but in 2013 more than 6 million records were purchased in the USA alone!

Honor Breast Cancer Survivors With These Upcycling Projects

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s time to “think pink.” Check out these upcycling projects that will turn used household items into a pinktabulous show of support for cancer patients and survivors.

If you’ve been a longtime supporter of breast cancer awareness, you’ve probably racked up a drawer full of Race for the Cure t-shirts. With a little needle and thread,   those t-shirts can be transformed into a scarf to keep cancer patients warm during treatment.
Paint old glass jars and bottles pink for a brilliant fundraising table centerpiece. Learn how to paint mason jars and wine bottles here.



Show your support on the go by turning last year’s pink sweater into this year’s coffee cozy. Get instructions here.



Light a candle for breast cancer survivors with these DIY candles upcycled from crayons. Learn how to make them here.


Dorm Room Decorating On a Dime

College is expensive enough. Want to express your individuality while evenly dividing your 12X19 dorm room with your new bestie — without breaking your parents’ bank account? Check out these upcycling projects that will turn your dull dorm room into a super cool castle.

Upcycled coasters or old vinyl covers double as quirky note holders.

note holder

A blinged out shoebox can hide unsightly extension
cords while helping organize device chargers.


Cover those uninspiring white walls with fabric or cool sheets from home.

wall covering

Arrange greeting cards, photos or postcards to create a colorful conversation piece.

picture collage

     Xmas tree lights aren’t just for the holidays.
Give your room some cosmic flare with a string of lights.

xmas lights

Upcycling Is Key

A study by the University of Florida environmental engineering department found that electronic gadgets ranging from cell phones to computer keyboards often release enough lead in laboratory tests to be classified as hazardous waste under federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
In addition, keyboards are coated in a material called brominated flame retardant. Plastics coated in flame retardants are dangerous if they end up in landfills and incinerators. The flame retardant can slowly seep off and mix with rainwater and soil, and if it is burned, it releases dangerous chemicals including dioxins.
Before you discard your old computer keyboard, consider these upcycling ideas.

keyboard1 keyboard2

Entrepreneurs Take Upcycling to a New Level

Upcycling is not only good for the environment, it’s good for business. Check out these entrepreneurs using upcycling to help save landfills and boost their bottom lines.

Entrepreneur Lindsay Nation is turning thrift store finds into high fashion. Read more.

TerraCycle collects difficult-to-recycle materials and transforms them into affordable, innovative products. Read more.

Hipcycle sells a wide variety of durable, fairly priced, and attractive upcycled products on its website– everything from housewares and furniture to office supplies and jewelry. Read more.

Four Upcycling Ideas for Carpet Squares

ZeroLandfill Nashville was a huge success. Thank you to everyone who donated items and to everyone who harvested items on Saturday. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing upcycling ideas for some of the items recovered at this weekend’s Harvest event.

A scratching post for kitty.
cat post

An indoor hop scotch game.

A cool dorm room rug.

dorm room

A thrifty teacher’s reading nook.


Fostering creativity and sustainability through reuse Follow us Facebook Twiter RSS